How to get started with evaluating your service for survivors

An important starting point is being clear on the purpose of your evaluation. There are many reasons you might want to evaluate, we’ve listed some common ones below:

  1. To assess the progress of an individual survivor. Are they getting the support they need and achieving their goals?
  2. To ensure the development of your services is informed by the experience of survivors. What is working well and what changes might make enable easier access to services?
  3. To analyse the impact of your service as a whole. Are you achieving the desired outcomes? What learnings are there and how can they be used to continually improve your approach?
  4. To demonstrate the quality of your service to survivors, external agencies and funders. How well are you achieving your goals?
  5. To support strategic discussions with your board and understand changing needs. What gaps in service provision are there? How can we build a business case for further funding?

What outcomes are you trying to achieve?

Watch this video to understand more about setting outcomes and measuring your impact:

Play Video

Outcomes are about change, the difference your work makes. Determining your outcomes is a key first step to being able to define what you will be evaluating or measuring.

Start setting or reviewing your outcomes by answering a few simple questions:

  1. What is the problem, need or situation that you are trying to address?
    Your outcomes should reflect that. In our framework, the starting point is that survivors’ needs are often unrecognised or unmet. So, several of our outcomes are about survivors being better understood and supported.
  2. Who is changing, what is changing and how is it changing?
    An outcome should answer all three questions. For example: survivor’s (who) access to information and support (what) is increased (how).
  3. So what?
    List your current activities, and for each one ask ‘So what?’.  Why does that activity take place, what’s it trying to achieve? What difference will this make to survivors? Your answers should lead you towards useful outcomes. For example: Survivor’s access to information was increased, meaning they had the tools they needed to improve their wellbeing.
  1. Finally, review and refine your outcomes.
    Any missing? Too many? Are they written in plain English? Are they specific and realistic?

How to set indicators of your progress

Next you’ll consider how to measure whether these outcomes have been achieved – these are your indicators.

Indicators should be simple and specific. They should show change and be able to be measured more than once. It is good practice to establish a baseline in order to measure progress or change.

Top tips

  • For each outcome consider what the appropriate indicators might be and how these will be measured.
  • Some outcomes will be more easily measured that others eg reduction of debt. However, indicators and measurement of changes in confidence and wellbeing are harder to demonstrate. To support this it is important to use validated, objective measurement tools for wellbeing and counselling. These are covered in more detail in Section 5.


What is Evaluation and why is it important?


How to develop your evaluation plan